The Last Ride


The Last Ride –sp   If this were just a great buddy movie about two unlikely guys driving together throughout the south, this film would be worth seeing. But it is much more. It is the story of how country music was the fabric of the people and the land where it originated. In 1952 when this movie was set, the personality who embodied that music and the stories that it told was Hank Williams. This is a movie about Hank Williams and yet we never see him sing one note. Director and a co-producer of this movie Harry Thomason is a well known television/movie director/producer as well as a friend of President and Mrs. Bill Clinton. He is also a native of Little Rock Arkansas where he once was a teacher and high school football coach and therefore was able to find authentic settings for all the scenes, which included gas stations, roadside stops, and many local roads.  The storyline shows an 18 year old bumbling but conscientious car mechanic Silas (Jesse James) who   is offered an opportunity to earn some good money by driving a well dressed man with a cowboy hat, unknown to him to be Hank Williams (Henry Thomas) in a lovely blue Cadillac to a destination several hundred miles away. Williams is an alcoholic with a back condition named spinal bifida and a persistent cough, which heralds bad things to come. During the long car ride they get to know each other as they encounter bad weather, a pretty gas station attendant (Kaley Cuoco) who becomes the first date and first kiss for Silas, local musicians gathered around a stovepipe furnace to play true blue country music, a local policeman who pulls them into the local court, a barroom fight and a failed desperate biplane air flight. There is a wonderful soundtrack of country music, which envelops the audience throughout the movie, which complements the warm feelings that we feel for the characters as we get to know them. In The year when Williams took this fateful car ride across country in a powder blue Cadillac, he had a number one hit titled “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”  This song  was more prophetic than anyone would have dreamed as at the end of this buddy trip  twenty nine year old Hank Williams never made it out of his blue Cadillac His persona and his music has lived on as will this film. (2012)

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